Autonomous Helicopters

Technology
These automatons are certainly not adrift but they are definitely airborne and capable! Computer Scientists at Stanford have developed an autonomous helicopter that can learn from a human expert pilot to perform complex manoeuvres better than the original human expert! The learning system does not just copy the controls for performing the manoeuvres it watches several built in sensors for the state of the environment around the helicopter and through several iterations develops an algorithm that can handle situations that were not part of the training but allow the autonomous pilot to complete the manoeuvre. These adapted agents could even keep more precise control over the aircraft than the original pilot could. "For five minutes, the chopper, on its own, ran through a dizzying series of stunts beyond the capabilities…
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Evolution of the Neuroevolutionary Solver documentation

Updates
There was some major updating of the Neuroevolutionary Solver page on the weekend. Now there are sections to help you download the software, install the required Java JDK and Java 3D packages and instructions on how to get the NS working on your home system. Working with the NS is much easier through the Eclipse IDE and detailed instructions are available for that method. Command line instructions for Windows and Linux are also available. Click through to the NS page here or click the Neuroevolutionary Solver tab at the top of this page. Keep watching for more updates over the next few days.
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The Learning Algorithm of the Brain

Technology
A group of researchers at NYU have been given funding to "discover the learning algorithm of the brain". This will be some exciting work, many scientists believe the easiest method to general artifical intelligence is through duplicating the human brain, that the sum of the parts is the soul so to speak. These researchers will be focusing on the visual system and how it manages to identify all the important bits in a photograph or any real world scene. They will then apply what they learn from these experiments to see if the same methodology works on similar brain structures. I am not certain but this research may be related to the recent full simulation of the human visual cortex on Roadrunner currently the most powerful computer in the world.…
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Happy Thanksgiving, Mr. Turing

Personal, Technology
Well yesterday was Thanksgiving, my wife and I went to our friends house and cooked a turkey. Quite the proceedure, I researched several sources including YouTube and my mother, to figure out the best way to get the job done. The turkey was fabulous. The human beings ability to take in information from several sources, assimilate it, process it and use it to understand and reproduce something is remarkable. Computers got a bit closer to that on the same day. The Turing Test I wrote about in my last post happened yesterday and quite a few of the systems did quite well. The program Elbot actually managed to fool twenty five percent of the judges into thinking it was a human. That is no small feat, as even the tiniest…
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Turing test next weekend.

Fun Bits, Technology
Next sunday there will be a fun little challenge happing at the University of Reading. Several computer programs will be competing to pass the 'Turing test'. To explain it simply, the Turing test, is an experiment to test a computers intelligence by having it attempt to fool a human into believeing it is human as well. A human judge faces off against a computer program and a human pretending to be the same program simultaneously. If the judge cannot tell which conversation is the human and which is the program, the program will have passed the Turing test. Some people will definitely argue that the program doesn't understand what it is saying, it is simply following rules to respond to the questions posed to it, and it does not represent…
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